Johnny Whitehead is director of post operations, Ascent 142.

What problems are involved in posting on a budget?
Everyone is looking to maximise budgets while keeping the high production values UK drama is known for. We also have to deliver in HD, so need to adapt workflows to suit technical and financial changes. HD posting brings considerations for hair/make-up and set designers, which increases the number and quality of fixes in post.

How can technology help?
There is a shift towards tapeless working, which can enhance quality by avoiding the compression used in tape recordings and offer savings through lower stock usage. There are also improvements in the image structure of 16/35mm film stocks, which help because film grain can cause issues with broadcast compression.

What technology is everyone talking about in post for drama?
The introduction of data cameras such as Red and Arri is attracting lots of interest among clients. Manufacturers face challenges to make these cameras appeal to the DOPs as well as line producers by offering the qualities of film acquisition so intrinsically linked to high-end drama production.

What are your predictions for post technology in drama?
We will see an increase in data cameras, leading to an increase in flex-based (tapeless) workflows. This is also driving the need for facilities such as Ascent to provide digital rushes services. Data camera files need careful handling to ensure they are checked, backed up and processed appropriately before being used in offline and post-production. This requires planning and specialist skills with close collaboration between production and facility.